Imperial Dress,Continued: Arms and Armor
There are two main types of war-dress for Imperials- Clan armor, a powerful, expensive style popularized by nobles, and va'se'hwessu, a lighter, more common style of armor. Regardless of type, Imperial armor suits generally follow the same pattern- breastplate, pauldrons, gauntlets or bracers, and greaves, similar to the Roman style of armor, allowing a good blend of protection and mobility.
Clan armor gets its name from the Great Clans, whose nobles very often employ this armor. It is protects the vital regions well, while remaining more mobile than the sheathing plate-suits of the Dlanni. Clan armor is expensive to make, and most common Legion footsoldiers will wear the va'se'hwessu style instead.
Clan armor typically follows a lamellar armor pattern; that is, it consists of a breastplate of interlocking horizontal bands of metal, and a kilt of leather, studded with square metal scales. Pauldrons are generally a series of overlapping metal plates, or in some cases, scales, on a sleeve of leather that fits across the upper sides of the pectorals and shoulder-blades and is bolted onto the lamellar breastplate. Also worn are knee-to-ankle greaves and an insert of metal that is slipped into the sandal to protect the foot; the lower arms are protected by elbow-to-wrist bracers, or gauntlets. In this design, small portions of the upper arms and upper legs are left unprotected. Due to this, warriors often dress in a jacket of leather underneath their armor, or invest in a coat-of-mail.
Clan helmets are simple things, much like the helmet of a Greek hoplite. However, there is a face-mask of metal or wood that can be bolted onto the front of the helmet.
Roughly translating as "Guarded above and beneath", va'se'hwessu armor is a lighter, less expensive form of armoring for the Imperial warrior. Where the Clan armor is made from strips and scales of metal, va'se'hwessu is composed mostly of scale-mail, leather, and silk.
Va'se'hwessu starts with a torso-wrap in a thick cloth of silk. Afterward, a knee-length leather buff-jacket, overlapping the chest completely and fastening at the shoulder, is worn. A mantle of scale-mail, of thin square scales, is worn over the shoulders and spills down the chest. In some variations, a circle or plate of armor is worn over the chest. There are generally no pauldrons, however, the sleeves of the jacket are tucked into bracers, and greaves are worn on the lower leg.
Va'se'hwessu helmets are similar to Clan armor helmets, but lack the facemask while gaining a long nose-guard.
Imperials use small, round disc of hardwood with a cover of hide, or for richer folk, a layer of metal, bolted onto it. They are generally one to two feet (30-61 centimeters) across, with a pair of leather handles. For most warriors, the shield is belted at the warrior's side until one is relatively close to the fight, when it is unstrung and slipped onto the arm.
The Rang- the rang (Imperial for "blade") is the typical Imperial sword. It is about three feet (91 centimeters) long, with a wide, flat blade that widens towards the tip. The blade is slightly curved, but it is a concave curve, that is, it is swung with what Real Earth viewers might term the "back" of the blade; the tip is straight, with no point. The rang has little or no hilt, and a long handle with a heavy pommel, usually making up about a third of the rang's length. The rang is heavy and sturdy, wielded in wide, slow sweeps and quick changes of direction.
The go-rang, or "great blade", is a variation of the rang, the Imperial version of a great-sword. It is roughly the same design as the rang, however, has a tendency to be narrower in width, and, obviously, is longer, having about four feet (122 cm) in length. The go-rang is not much used, for its massive (especially for an Imperial) size makes it very, very difficult to wield.
Pu'muk-rang- The pu'muk-rang, the "heavy-headed blade", is the Imperial axe. It generally has a haft of about 3 feet (91 cm); the thick, weighty blade has one bladed head and one blunt head, giving it an appearance not unlike a mushroom turned on its side. Pu'muk-rang are unpopular weapons, heavy, slow, and brutal, and quite unsuited to most Imperial warriors. The pu'muk-rang also sometimes comes in a six-foot length, and this pole-axe is used with more frequency as a sort of surrogate spear.
Si'ita- The Imperial spear. The si'ita has a wide, flat, leaf-shaped blade which is bladed as well as pointed, usually mounted on a staff of eight or nine feet (244-274 cm); the opposite end of the si'ita is heeled in edged metal, so that it can be used as a sort of bludgeoning mace in desperate situations. The si'ita is used as the primary weapon by the footsoldiers of the Legions, who march in phalanx with spears at the ready over a shield wall.
Tru'mo- The tru'mo is the Imperial mace, a 3-foot (91 cm) haft topped in a foot-long barrel of metal, usually with studs or spikes. The tru'mo is much more like the Japanese tetsubo than the European mace, but is used in the same manner as both- in swift, crushing swings in a short range around the user.
Bows- Imperial bows range from small, 3-foot (91 cm) self bows, used by quick-moving ranger units and short-range shooters, to the 6-foot (183 cm) greatbow, used almost uniquely in siege situations, where squadrons of greatbow archers line up in massive formations and unleash the feared Rain of Feathered Death, an Imperial tactic that usually makes towers and roofs look like porcupines' backs. Imperial bows are usually recurved and made from horn or layered wood. It is rare to see metal banding on Imperial bows.
In most cases, Imperial archers use the tried-and-true broadhead arrow, with a leaf- or triangle-shaped head. However, on the close-combat field, arrows are generally frog-crotched arrows, that is, they have Y-shaped heads. These arrows impale less-readily in men and objects, and do not do well against armor, but the wounds they cause against flesh are very often lethal.